Every night, I tell myself that I will have more patience for my children in the morning, I will get up without a struggle, and I’ll accomplish more, earlier in the day.
And every morning, I fail miserably at all three of these things, so I’ve decided not to try anymore.
I am many things, but a morning person is not one of them. I would rather wear a larger pant size than wake up at 5:00 AM to squeeze in a workout. I would rather present myself to the world as a sloppy, tired mess than make time for a shower first thing in the morning. I actually did give up my career, its financial independence and opportunities for professional success to stay home with my kids in part to avoid the struggle of hectic, frantic mornings.
I work on the speed of Come Back Later until about 10:00 AM. I’m not capable of getting up on my own without imminent pressure from an outside force: school, work, or tiny children pulling at my bed covers.
“You’re back in bed?” My husband will say to me on a Saturday morning, after I’ve changed children’s pee-soaked pajamas, given them milk and juice, and supplied them with breakfast and a television show. Yes, I am. While I may have appeared to be awake and functioning, I was operating on low battery mode, and I’m still waiting to fully charge.
There could be worse things than having a grumpy mother in the morning. When my children are older and reminiscing about their childhood, they may even think back fondly to my other-than-sunny morning disposition. They’ll say, “Remember how Mom never liked us to bother her? She literally couldn’t process more than one question at a time, and she hated when we’d ask her for pancakes or eggs or any kind of breakfast that took more than one step to make.” Then they’ll smile and shake their heads and think of all the things they were able to get away with while I was still in bed.
Or, maybe, my half-functioning morning behavior will actually have some kind of unforeseen psychological effect on them, which they’ll have to work through in therapy as adults. Perhaps science will uncover that unconditional love can only be absorbed into a child’s psyche between the hours of 5:00 AM and 8:00 AM, and that my children have been severely deprived as a result of my groggy morning nature. It’s possible there’s a link between criminal behavior and being raised by mothers who curse at the alarm clock and silently whimper as they struggle out of bed. We may yet learn that the key factor in determining a child’s success is whether their mother was willing to play a game of Candy Land at 7:30 AM.
These are risks I’m willing to take because I’m not a morning person, and my kids will just have to deal with it.